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DistributionMore info for the terms: cover, natural
Perennial sowthistle is of European [53,109] and western Asian  origin and was probably introduced into North America as a seed contaminant . Sonchus arvensis spp. arvensis was first reported in 1814 in Pennsylvania . The earliest collection of S. a. ssp. glabrescens in North America was from Maine in 1894. Additional collections were reported from Massachusetts and Ohio as early as 1902 .
Perennial sowthistle is reported throughout most of the United States, with the exception of Hawaii, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. It occurs throughout Canada. Sonchus arvensis spp. arvensis has the same distribution as perennial sowthistle, but it is not recorded in Nebraska, Kansas, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, or Alaska. Sonchus arvensis spp. uliginosus occurs across the northern portion of North America, from Alaska south to Oregon and Utah, and east to Virginia and North Carolina; but it is not reported in New Hampshire, Kentucky, British Columbia or the far northern territories of Canada .
No specific mention of perennial sowthistle in Mexico occurs in the literature. Since it occurs in Texas and New Mexico, it is reasonable to assume it may also occur in northern Mexico.
Plants database provides a state distribution map of perennial sowthistle and its infrataxa.
The following lists include North American ecosystems, habitat types, and forest and range cover types in which perennial sowthistle may occur. Perennial sowthistle grows well in wet and even saturated soils. Consequently, perennial sowthistle may occur in riparian areas or wetlands within these habitats. Additionally, perennial sowthistle often occurs in cultivated areas, especially small grain and row crops, so it may occur in cultivated areas within these communities, with the potential to spread into adjacent, undisturbed areas.
These lists are not necessarily inclusive or exhaustive. More information is needed to determine particular ecosystems and plant communities where perennial sowthistle is likely to occur in natural areas.